Daily Travel Health Update, October 3rd 2014

Honduras – Chikungunya

The Honduran Government has today declared a state of emergency in the town of San Francisco, 25 miles away from the capital of Tegulcigalpa in Honduras. An estimated 1,000 people have been stricken with Chikungunya Fever, which, a representative of PAHO, the Pan American Health Organization, believes has been spread through people returning to Honduras from El Salvador, where the disease is wide-spread and almost out of control. Early symptoms of Chikungunya are high fever, (up to 104), and dizziness, and although it is also a mosquito-borne disease, it should not be confused with Dengue.

DR Congo – Ebola

One of the last countries in West Africa to be afflicted with the Ebola outbreak, the Democratic Republic of the Congo reports that as at today, 42 Ebola sufferers have now died of the disease.

U.S.A. – Ebola

Following hard on the heels of yesterday’s news of the first United States. diagnosed case of Ebola, in Dallas, Texas, Atlanta, announces that the Hartsfield-Jackson airport – the busiest in the world – is making preparations to handle any situations arising from arriving or in-transit passengers who might be infected with the virus. Further, in a Dallas elementary school, three children were taken out of class due to concerns that they might be suffering symptoms of the virus.

Sierra Leone – Ebola

A leading charity warns that healthcare demands far outweigh the existing facilities in Sierra Leone, where 5 new cases of Ebola are recorded every hour. As the outbreak escalates at an alarming rate, new facilities are estimated to be weeks or months away from being available. At present, however, the facts are that 765 new Ebola cases were recorded in Sierra Leone last week, and there are only 327 beds in the entire country.

With the frightening global implications of the spread of Ebola, it grows more vital with each day that travellers take all precautions with their hygiene, whether in flight, at an airport, or at a hotel or restaurant. Any public facility can be a breeding ground for disease, and extra care should be taken with hand-washing, using anti-bacterial hand gel, wiping down fixtures before and after use, making sure that utensils, dishes and glasses are properly washed before use. As international airports adopt more vigilant health and safety procedures in the face of this epidemic, more time and patience might be needed when travelling and making airline connections.

Tensions mount – Hong Kong

Ongoing protests, street blockages, and refusal on both sides to back down have exacerbated the tenuous situation in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy demonstrations have now continued for a full week. The presence of the People’s Liberation Army on the streets of Hong Kong seems to have added fuel to the fire, and while Hong Kong maintains its considerable autonomy, this is a disturbing development.

Should you have plans to visit Hong Kong at this time, you will want to keep up-to-date through press and social media each day, before making plans. During your stay in Hong Kong, check local news for information regarding demonstrations, street closures, or any events that might disrupt travel by taxi, or public transport.